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TUSTIN : Annexation Move Angers Residents

January 23, 1991

About 60 North Tustin residents stormed out of the Tustin council chambers, many vowing to boycott city businesses, after the council voted unanimously Monday night to try to annex more than 800 acres of that area.

The move angered members of Citizens for More Local Control, who have petitioned the Local Agency Formation Commission for cityhood.

Angering them even more, the City Council voted 3 to 2 to spend up to $20,000 to request a review by the state controller of a study showing that a new city of North Tustin would be financially feasible. The review could delay LAFCO's decision for several months.

Councilwoman Leslie Anne Pontious and Councilman Charles E. Puckett voted against spending money for the analysis.

"I have no problems with the people of North Tustin incorporating," Puckett said to cheers from the audience. "I'm just not going to vote for spending $20,000 to pursue this."

North Tustin resident Bill Davenport called for a boycott of Tustin businesses. North Tustin has no businesses, with the exception of one restaurant, so its residents have long frequented Tustin shops, adding to the city's sales tax revenue.

The 16-square-mile North Tustin area has an estimated 28,000 residents, many of whom enjoy a semi-rural atmosphere in the hills. Much of the area is in the Tustin "sphere of influence," meaning that Tustin is the most logical city to annex the property, but a portion is also within Orange's sphere.

The debate over annexation and incorporation has been waged in North Tustin for years, but in recent months the battle has taken on a new urgency. Incorporation advocates rushed to turn in an application before the end of 1990, when funding laws changed.

They gathered 6,000 signatures and paid more than $10,000 for Christensen & Wallace of Oceanside to study the feasibility of a new city. It is that study that the city will pay $20,000 to review.

Although incorporation proponents were the vocal majority at the council meeting Monday, their opponents have not been idle. A new group, North Tustin Citizens Against Incorporation, announced its formation this week and invited anyone to join who wants the area to remain unincorporated or be annexed to Tustin.

Three separate annexation petitions were filed earlier this month, and the city staff estimates that more than 4,000 people live in those areas, which are primarily residential but also include a church and school.

Jim Colangelo, executive director of LAFCO, said the commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the incorporation proposal April 3.

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